Over the clouds – Thoughts on traveling

“I have never thought so much, existed so much, lived so much, been so much myself, if I may venture to use the phrase, as in the journeys which I have made alone and on foot. […] I can scarcely think when I remain still; my body must be in motion to make my mind active…[t]he absence of all that makes me conscious of my dependent position, of all that reminds me of my condition—all this sets my soul free, gives me greater boldness of thought, throws me, so to speak, into the immensity of things, so that I can combine, select and appropriate them at pleasure, without fear or restraint.”

(Jean Jacques Rousseau)

I’m sitting in an airplane, looking  at snowy hills and enjoying the view. Again I am wondering, what makes this charm of traveling. And at he moment  I unpack my notebook, I realize that this view from above the plane is  a metaphor fo rme. I “lift” myself up above things and may reflect them, but I am by no longer part of them. Or as my friend D. says so beautifully, when traveling is one is alway a bit on the side. This feeling is  particularly strong during  long train or bus rides,  when reading is only a short-term option.



Breakfast table in a guesthouse in Krabi (Thailand)

As the means of transport get  slower, the reflection leads me increasingly back to myself –  I move everything, which is in my mind, around  in my head back and forth, analyze myself and my surroundings from the front and back, until everything dissolves by itself until  I only walk or cycle – and nothing else – what a treat. And that’s probably the reason why pilgrims have in all world religions as a high priority.



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